Despite losing a contest to win a free book written by Amy Cortese: Locavesting: the Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It (Wiley & Sons, June 2011), I have been following her blog and website to keep up with her advocacy.
Locavesting is a term coined by Amy that enhances the Buy Local movement by encouraging people to invest in businesses within 50 miles of their home. To sum it up in Amy’s words:
The idea is to earn profits while supporting your local community. Locavesting is about investing in Main Street, rather than the casino known as Wall Street, and creating a more inclusive and just form of capitalism.
I ran into an interview she had with Fast Company’s Danielle Sacks. In this interview, Amy is asked:
In your reporting, did you find evidence that communities that invested locally were more resilient during the recession?
Here’s the answer she provided that inspired me to post this blog entry:
Yes, absolutely. One of the best examples is Hardwick, Vt., where community investing has been unfolding for a decade. It started when the area’s new generation of farmers and entrepreneurs began getting together to help each other work through business issues. Many of them, such as Tom Stearns of High Mowing Seeds and Pete Johnson of Pete’s Greens, were experiencing rapid growth and would run into cash flow problems, so they began lending money to each other to get through lean times. Around 2005, Stearns raised $1.1 million from a group of (accredited) local investors, all within 50 miles. Other community investments followed. Claire’s Restaurant, which showcases food grown or raised by the area’s farmers, sold prepaid “food coupons” to 50 residents for $1,000 apiece, which entitled them to $25 off a meal once a month for four years. It’s sort of modern day barn raising. All of this mutual support and reinforcement has attracted more entrepreneurs to Hardwick, like the Vermont Food Venture Center, a shared use facility for food producers and startups, which has relocated to Hardwick from Burlington to be part of the action. In the last three years, while most of the country was struggling with unemployment, Hardwick created 100 food and agriculture-related jobs, increasing local jobs by 25 percent.
Real world samples like these inspire me to continue my advocacy for the Buy Local movement.